Selecting a translation company to work with can be a bit nerve wracking, especially if you don’t have a firm grasp of the language(s) you’re translating into. A high-quality translation is paramount to engaging foreign customers and maintaining your company’s brand image. You don’t want to feel like you’re acting on blind faith. So how can you be sure that the language service provider (LSP) you choose will deliver good work? Here are the top questions to ask and criteria to look out for.
Who are the company’s main clients? Have they worked with companies in a similar field and with similar linguistic needs to yours? This is important because a company that mainly does French marketing translation, for example, might not be the best choice for your Chinese software localization. Ask for a couple letters of recommendation or references that you can contact. If the LSP can’t provide strong testimonials from past clients, that’s a huge red flag.
Are all their translators native speakers of the target language? What background/training do their translators have and—importantly—do they specialize in your domain? You can even ask to see blind CVs of the people who would be handling your account.
If you have any sort of volume to translate, you’ll want to work with a company that can create custom glossaries, termbases, translation memories and style guides or work with the ones you already have. This is crucial for maintaining a consistent style and vocabulary. Plus, even if it’s the LSP that creates these assets, they technically belong to you—you can ask to review them any time you want. You should also make sure that there is a strong channel of communication between your company and the LSP. That way, if either one of you has a question or concern about terminology it can be cleared up quickly and effectively.
There should be at least two steps in the translation process: first the translation and then a revision step performed by a second linguist. Even great translators can make mistakes (they are human, after all!), so having a second pair of eyes to catch the odd typo, mistranslated term or awkward phrasing can go a long way to ensuring professional-quality content. If your text undergoes any further formatting after that, such as desktop publishing, the final version should also be proofread.
Like we said, mistakes happen. Let’s say the translation is completed and up on your website, when a native speaker who works at your company notices an issue. A good LSP will be willing to work with you to quickly correct the mistake, find the source of the issue, and/or explain why the translation is in fact correct (there might be some nuance your colleague missed or perhaps it’s simply a matter of preference). Assuming this doesn’t take hours of work, it should all be done free of charge. What you don’t want is a company that brushes you off and refuses to explain their linguistic choices to you.
It might feel like a lot to ask, but it’s your peace of mind and your company’s reputation that are at stake! A high-quality, client-oriented language service provider will be more than happy to fill you in on their process. Just ask OXO’s sales team at sales@oxoinnovation. They’ll be glad to answer your questions!